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Basic Common Training (BCT)

Sea Safety Training, Fleet Swimming Pool

Basic Common Training (BCT) Course is the first course any new sailor undertakes on joining the Navy. The aim of this course is to take you from a civilian to a self-reliant, disciplined sailor armed with the skills and knowledge to be a capable and effective team member in the Navy.

Right: Sea Safety Training, Fleet Swimming Pool

BCT is also aimed at confirming your suitability for life in the Navy and preparing you for specialist training. Basic Common Training is delivered by the Recruit Training Squadron of the Leadership Development Group.

BCT is held at the Recruit Training Squadron onboard HMNZS Philomel, located at Devonport, North Shore, Auckland. Some aspects of BCT are conducted at the Tamaki Leadership Centre located on Whangaparoa Peninsular.

BCT is 13 weeks long and up to three courses are held each year beginning January, May and September.

A Typical day like under BCT Training

  • 0515 -  Wakey Wakey. Get up. Morning exercise for 20 minutes. Shower and make up your bunk.
  • 0615 - Breakfast 
  • 0630 - Cleaning Stations. Clean allocated area (e.g. bathroom, dormitory or outside areas)
  • 0700 – Mess Deck inspection
  • 0730 – Muster on small parade ground for inspection
  • 0740 - Divisions. Parade Training
  • 0850 – Instruction, Classroom lessons 
  • 1015 - Stand Easy - Morning Tea
  • 1030 – Instruction, Classroom lessons 
  • 1155 - Lunch 
  • 1255 – Instruction, Classroom lessons 
  • 1420 - Stand Easy -Afternoon Tea
  • 1430 - PT. Organised Physical Training
  • 1615 - Kit. Work on uniform
  • 1715 - Shower. Change into night uniform
  • 1730 - Dinner  
  • 1830 - Cleaning Stations. Clean your allocated area for Rounds (Inspection)
  • 1900 - Rounds. Formal inspection of areas
  • 2000 - Study time. Study notes and prepare for exams
  • 2030 - Kit. Maintenance of your uniform
  • 2200 - Pipe Down. Lights out and silence in the dormitories

Phases of Training

Phase One – Induction

The first phase of the course lasts five weeks and focuses on exposing you to life in the Navy. Trainees are taught the basics of Naval culture; learning naval ranks and insignia, naval traditions and discipline, maintenance and care of uniform, physical fitness, parade training, damage control and sea survival.

This first five weeks of training takes place at the Devonport Naval Base and Tamaki Leadership Centre.

Phase Two – Core Mariner and Military Skills Training

The second phase of training is conducted mostly at Devonport Naval Base, but includes time at Tamaki Leadership Centre. This phase provides the basic core mariner and military skills needed to be a sailor in the Navy.

Phase Two includes Basic First Aid, Weapons Familiarisation and Weapon Firings, Core Mariner Skills, Team Building Evolutions and Basic Seamanship training.
Parade training is continued to develop drill and aid discipline.  Parade also helps to develop a sense of individual pride, alertness, precision and a willingness to obey orders instantly – and when necessary without question.

In addition more physical training is undertaken regularly to improve physical fitness and ensure that you can meet the RNZN fitness standard.  Physical training involves formal activities involving running, swimming, confidence course runs and sports. Physical training is designed to provide physically demanding activities for all trainees and promotes morale, and esprit de corps.


During the entire course a great deal of emphasis is placed on teamwork. Trainees are given opportunities to develop confidence, self-esteem and self-respect. A considerable amount of time during this training will be spent doing various activities which are designed to encourage teamwork, instil personal discipline and foster comradeship.


The Basic Common Training Course concludes with a formal graduation parade to which your family and/or friends can be invited. This formal parade allows you the opportunity to show your family and friends how much you have learnt and developed in a short period of time. The parade also recognises your transition from a civilian to a self-reliant, disciplined sailor armed with the skills and knowledge to be a capable and effective team member in the Navy.

What happens after Basic Common Training?

On the successful completion of the BCT course Ratings undertake Basic Branch Training (BBT). This is where you begin your training in your chosen trade. The length of your course and the course content will depend on the trade you have chosen and can range in length dependant on trade. A great deal of this training depends on your determination to succeed, your willingness to learn and to make the most of each new experience.

You must be aware that Branch changing from the Branch in which you were recruited to another is not normally permitted except where it is in the best interests of the Service, so choose your trade carefully.

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